IX SEARCH Or AX AETIST 10&
^unless one lapsed into the language of the bargee it would he-
hard to express oneself more forcibly.
What happened ? Bland smiles—amiable little smirks. No red
faces, no angry interjections, nothing at all like that. Judging from
The reaction—or lack of it—you would think that the audience had
just been told how prettily the roses were growing round their doors.
On the following day I bought the newspapers, expecting splash
headlines. After all, the journalists ought to know a goad story
when they met one, Here was a person—me—whom they had
made the Oracle of the Hour, for reasons best known, to themselves.
The oracle had spoken—nay, had roared, hissed, spat in their
faces. And the roaring, hissing and spitting had been about
something which concerned them all, their own houses, their own
streets, their own places of business.
But not one newspaper considered it worthy of a single para-
graph. Oh, yes—the splash headlines were there, all right; the
mild little political platitudes, in which the rest of the speech had
consisted, were set in type which challenged the assault on
^Kharkov. But the one interesting thing, the one creative thing
ifor I had followed the attack by a detailed plan for the creation
of an Indian Ministry of Fine Arts) was completely ignored.
This apathy blankets all India like a fog. If you were to tell
Indian millionaires to their faces that their palaces should be
blown up or turned into zoos for the more loathesome form of
diseased reptile^, they would only smile blandly- They would not
hem. They explode at the most innocent political generalization.
But they merely smile when you tell them that they are the first
of the Philistines.
It is apt to be fatiguing in the long run.
We now come up against a blank wall.
The blank wall is Art in Bombay.
vlf you turn to the official guide book of Bombay—a closelv
printed volume of 122 pages—you will find no reference to art in.
any shape or form.